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Dune | 2021 | PG-13 | – 2.6.3

content-ratingsWhy is “Dune” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “sequences of strong violence, some disturbing images and suggestive material.” The evaluation includes a near kiss, allusions to sexual assault, a nearly nude man, many scenes of people fighting with knives leading to the death of many with bloody wounds shown, scenes of attacks by giant sand worms, several scenes of flying vessels being shot down and exploding, threats of violence and injury, and some moderate language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.

The first part of a planned two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, set in the very distant future, when a powerful substance called “spice” is cherished by the known universe for its time-alerting properties. A young man (Timothée Chalamet), poised to take over from his father (Oscar Isaac) as they are granted control of a dangerous planet with an exclusive supply of the precious drug, has to figure out how to ensure the future of his family and his people. Also with Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Chen Chang, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian and Charlotte Rampling. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Several lines of dialogue are in a sign language with English subtitles. Several lines of dialogue are in unrecognizable languages with English subtitles. [Running Time: 2:35]


 – A young man has a vision where he follows a young woman through a desert and into a cave where she moves close to him, touches his face and they nearly kiss (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A man rests his head in a woman’s lap and tells her, “I should have married you.”
 A man says of a woman he has taking captive, “I have never had a high-born” (sexual assault is implied) and another man says of a young man with the woman that he looks forward to a “long goodbye” with him (possibly implying a sexual assault). A woman is described as a man’s concubine. A young man tells his mother that he knows that she is pregnant.
 A fully nude man lies back in a chair and unable to move (we see his bare chest, abdomen, legs to the hips; his crotch are covered by a table). A young man sleeps shirtless in a few scenes (we see his bare back and his chest, abdomen and legs to the upper thighs when he sits up awake in one scene). A woman wears a dress that reveals her bare abdomen. Bodies are shown in boxes during a funeral ceremony and we see bare chests, abdomens and legs (crotches are covered with a cloth). A young man and a woman undress to put on special suits and we see the young man’s bare back, chest and abdomen.


 – A man levitates and floats across a room toward another man, he lifts him off the floor by the hair and cuts his head off (we see him drop the severed head on the floor and we hear a thud). A man fights with several soldiers and slashes their throats (blood splatters) in a few scenes; he fights several soldiers in a confined space and he is stabbed in the chest (we see the bloody blade through to his back), he continues to fight and is eventually killed (we see blood on his wounds). A woman on a flying vessel speaks in a deep voice and makes a man kill another man (he stabs him in the throat with blood splatter), cut her bindings and set her free and the woman kills the man with a stab to the abdomen and then kills the pilot. A man and a young man fight with knives (the young man sees himself being stabbed with blood dripping from the wound); the young man then holds a knife to the other man’s throat and calls for him to yield (he does not), they continue to fight and the young man stabs the man in the back (he falls dead and we see blood in his mouth and the young man has a bloody nose from a punch in the face).
 A man carrying a large sword walks behind several people on their knees and he swings the sword as he yells and beheads each person (we do not see the results). A man moves very close to another man’s face and the second man bites down and blows out a cloud of poison gas that fills the room killing other people in the room (they gasp and are shown dead later and one man’s eyes are sunken). A woman is stabbed in the back and she tumbles down a sand dune; she pounds on the sand calling a sand worm that comes and opens a hole drawing three soldiers and the woman into its mouth.
 As people walk along a sandy terrain, and others jump out from under the sand and attack them; we see some stabbings as dust clouds cover them. A tiny drone burns through a wall and buzzes into a room where it flies very close to a man’s face pointing a needle toward his eye; the young man slams the drone against a wall destroying it (we see it sparking). A giant harvester moves along the surface of a sand dune and people in a flying vessel see a sand worm approaching; they call for removal of the harvester and the equipment fails, the flying vessel and two others land to offload the crew of the harvester but are unable to get them out before the sand worm opens the sand under the vessel and it sinks into the worm’s mouth; a man and a young man run toward the flying vessel as the sand worm arrives and they are nearly pulled into the sand. Three guards are shot and fall to the floor twitching and a man wakes up and sees something outside; he approaches a woman on the floor and sees that she has been stabbed when he rolls her over (she touches him with her bloody hand) and he is shot in the back with a dart that disables him. A young man tells a man that he had a vision and that he saw the man dead after he fell in battle (we see several people dead with blood splattered on walls in a passageway). A young man has dreams and visions of events that have yet to occur in a few scenes and several include seeing the deaths of people including himself (bloody wounds are seen).
 Bombs are dropped on a city and soldiers prepare to fight invading forces; we hear that shields are down and many weapons fire into the sky and vessels shoot at the ground before landing and offloading many soldiers, who fight with soldiers on the ground. Flying vessels shoot at each other and there are explosions as some fall from the sky. Many soldiers armed with swords fight with slashing and stabbing in a few battles scenes. A woman and a young man in a flying vessel are chased by other flying vessels, they dodge into a giant wave of sand and dust trying to lose them, the wings break off the vessel and they land hard in the sand; they run to rocks nearby for safety from sand worms.
 A young man and a woman run through a desert away from a giant sand worm that closes on them and rises out of the sand over the young man (we see its giant mouth with many rows of pointed teeth) until it hears a rhythmic thumping and follows the sound away from the young man. A woman speaks with a booming, vibrating voice and commands a young man to move toward her; he does so and she tells him to put his hand in a box and that if he tries to remove his hand she will stab him in the neck with a poisoned needle; we hear a buzzing emitting from the box as the young man grimaces and moans but does not pull his hand out of the box (he has a vision of flames and a charred hand and arm). Guards hold swords to a woman’s throat when she moves toward a man and a young man. A young man has a vision and he sees himself following a young woman through a desert and into caves where the young woman stabs him in the abdomen (we see blood pour from the wound and on the knife). A man is shown clinging to the ceiling to avoid a poison gas (we hear him wheezing); we see a vat filled with a thick dark liquid that bubbles and he sits up after a woman says that he is still healing. Many people come out from among rocks in a pass as a young man and a young woman walk through and one man threatens them for the water in their bodies; a man tries to stab the woman and she fights him, holding a blade to his throat, until he relents and the young man gets a gun away from another man and points it at the group of people.
 A young man practices using a sword on sparring dummies; a man enters the room and they practice against each other and set protective shields before they begin (they appear to flash red if there is a blow that would cause an injury) and they thrash and punch and slash at each other before one pins the other on the floor with a blade to his throat and the pinned man holds his blade to his opponent’s abdomen. A woman and a young man are transported on a flying vessel and a man asks why they don’t just cut their throats; another man says that they will drop them in the desert for the sand worms to get them.
 A large vessel lands on a planet’s surface and dust blows in heavy winds as people disembark and other people watch and chant; we hear that the sun is dangerous and large heavy doors are closed to shelter people inside. A vessel flies over a large vessel, attaches to the top of it and deploys large balloons that help lift it off the ground and carry it away. We hear low booming moaning and chanting during a ceremony where blood is smeared on the foreheads of soldiers.
 A man tells another man, “Your son is dead. Your concubine is dead. Your bloodline dies forever.” A man tells another man, “Kill all the Fremen.” A man tells another man, “I’ve made a bargain with the Baron,” as he implants a tooth containing poison in his mouth. A woman confronts another woman about the weapon she has hidden in her bodice and the woman pulls out a dagger (the first woman signs “Be ready for violence” to her security detail) and presents it to the woman as a gift. A woman tells her son, “Command me” and he summons a booming deep voice to tell her to pass him a glass of water. People wearing long robes and helmets with visors that cover their faces walk down a ramp from a large flying vessel during a formal exchange of power. A young man asks a man to take him on his next mission and the man says that he would be court-martialed if he did. A man yells at another man about handing over power to “spice” harvesting to other people. A woman complains that a young man has defiance in his eyes. A man describes people on a planet and says, “They fight like demons.” A woman tells a man, “Take good care of your family” and seems threatening. A man yells at his son for taking chances. A man asks a woman, “Will you protect our son?” A young man yells in fear for what he sees in a vision and yells at his mother. People talk about dying with honor. A young woman tells a young man that the man he is going to fight is a good fighter and that “he won’t let you suffer.”
 Sandstorms on a planet are described as being powerful enough to cut through metal. People talk about giant sand worms in a few scenes and we see them tunneling through sand dunes a few times; when they surface, we see what looks like giant pointed teeth or filters as they open holes in the sand. A man asks, “Who will our next oppressors be?” Comments are made about cruelty to people. We hear that the harvesting of a chemical has made those in charge “obscenely rich.” A young man argues with his father about wanting to going on a mission; the young man says, “Grandfather fought bulls for sport,” and it is implied that the man died that way. A woman tells a young man, “I hope you live.” A woman complains that “potential is being wasted in a male.” A woman talks about crossing bloodlines to create a mind powerful enough to bridge space and time. A young man is upset by people “planting superstition” in people’s minds. A man warns a young man that he will succumb to heat stroke if he stays out in the sun. A man talks about watering sacred palm trees. A man asks for a woman to be given the dignity of exile. A man says, “The desert takes the weak.” We hear that sand worms are attracted by rhythmic sounds.
 A man spits on the floor during an introduction and another man is alarmed until a third man explains that it is a gift of moisture and spits on a table followed by the second man who also spits on the table. A very large man is shown with lights implanted on his back along his spine and we see him floating in the air in a few scenes. A couple of men are shown as their eyes roll back in their heads (seemingly, while they search for an answer to a question or make a calculation). A bull’s head and horns are mounted on a wall and we see it being packed into a large crate. A man kneels at the grave of his father.


 – 1 scatological term, 1 anatomical term, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (outsiders, old man, brutal, filth, traitor, dangerous, jealous, [mild obscenity deleted] hole, witch, fierce, insane, you look like a little boy, lost boy hiding in a hole in the ground, betrayer, gone native), 4 religious exclamations (e.g. Hand of God, My God, God in Heaven, God willing). | profanity glossary |


 – We hear that a chemical harvested from a planet’s surface has psychoactive properties, we hear that exposure to “spice” causes people’s eyes to turn blue, “spice” is referred to as a hallucinogen, and a man brings two sleeping pills to a young man.


 – Prophecy, power, greed, peace, steering politics, honor, profit, dignity, respect, superstition, chaos, betrayal, harvesting a valuable substance, leadership, war, legacy, fate, racism, mind control, impulse control, hope.


 – Face your fears.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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